Here are a few pictures and stories from our time in Vietnam. We visited Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Phu Quoc Island and Saigon. I listed out our recommendations in the end, but basically all you need to know is this: EAT EVERYTHING.
The coolest roof top deck in Hanoi.
Cafe Sua Da
Our hotel in Hanoi was right next to Hoan Kiem Lake. It's definitely a great place to people watch as you see everything from people exercising to kids hanging out and people on dates. We were stopped by a group of students so they could practice English. It's a very cool spot in a crazy city.
The bridge of Hoan Kiem Lake
Cha Ca La Vong is a restaurant that serves one dish and one dish only in Hanoi. You get fish fried up in oil with turmeric and a lot of greens. Anders liked this dish much better than me, but it's a very popular spot in Hanoi to check out.
Dragon fruit everywhere!
The Sofitel Metropole was named the best hotel in all of Vietnam. It was built in 1901 in the French Colonial style and has been home to many famous people throughout time. It has a lot of history and while it's definitely out of our price range, it's worth stopping in for a tipple in the Bamboo Bar.
It's not the Metropole, but our hotel roof deck and pool wasn't too shabby either.
We stayed on the cutest little boat in Halong Bay. This is our room!
And the boat's dining room...
And the boat's deck...
We got a Tai Chi lesson on the boat one morning. I'm pretty terrible at it, but still thought it was interesting.
A floating snack shack would visit out boat sometimes in case, you know, we wanted chips or beer.
Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the natural wonders of the world. It's beautiful!
Kayaking through the bay was on the agenda, and I loved it.
Breakfast on the boat
We passed a floating fish market while in Halong Bay. It was so neat. Anders and I both love food markets and sellers. Even if we don't buy anything, it's fun to look at all the different food.
Our next stop was in Hoi An, and we stayed at the cutest little boutique hotel with beautiful gardens...
..and a floating restaurant...
And a tropical pool!
And a wild fig tree...
We headed out to Hoi An's ocean front one day. We met this cute furry friend. When we found out that "cho" means dog in Vietnamese, we started calling all dogs Cho.
These round boats are squid boats! I thought they were so unique as I have never seen a boat shaped this way before.
Anders got a shave, a ear and eye cleaning and a massage from the oldest barbershop in Hoi An. Very cool experience.
We also visited the Banh Mi Queen! Delicious! Maybe the best we had!
As I mentioned, Anders and I love walking the food markets. These pictures are all from the central market in Hoi An.
Hoi An is a city of lanterns. They are strung up everywhere and come to life at night.
We splurged on La Veranda Resort on Phu Quoc Island. It's the best there is with beautiful grounds and our own private beach access.
We visited another market while we were there...
...And Sao Beach, which rates up there as one of the best beaches I have ever been to in my life. Definitely in the top 3.
Rory's was a beach bar next door to our resort, which was a welcome break from the high-vibe of La Veranda. Anders and I joked that we were too bohemian for our resort, but next door, with the wind cracked tables and plastic chairs was definitely our speed.
Sunset on Phu Quoc.
Our top recs:
Stay: Tirant Hotel for it's amazing rooftop pool and deck. Ask for a room with a balcony.
Eat: Pho Thin at 13 Lo Duc Street. No menu. Just pay, sit and enjoy.
Cong Caphe for fun coffee drinks and a lounge-y atmosphere
Nem Cua Be Dac Kim for Bun Cha (pork and noodles)
Do: Walk Hoan Kiem Lake and have a drink at the Metropole's Bamboo Bar
Stay: Galaxy Cruises. They will plan out the itinerary for you. We stayed 1 night and it was perfect.
Stay: Muca Boutique Resort. Free breakfast, beautiful grounds, lovely pool and 1 hour of free spa services every day. It's a bit out of town, but you can rent motorbikes for dirt cheap or they have free bicycles at the hotel. We used both.
Eat: Banh Mi Queen and Banh Mi Phuong (both were the best we had. We couldn't decide which was better)
Thin Nhan - order the tamarind crab and you won't be disappointed. Don't be scared off by the fact that you'll be the only one in the restaurant.
Do: Excellent shopping, visit the central market, take a motorbike to the beach
Stay: La Veranda Resort if you want the best of the best. We didn't stay here, but we had lunch at Cassia Cottage and it looked adorable and very much our speed!
Eat: Hieu Family Restaurant. They have very fresh seafood, delicious curry and excellent breakfast noodles
Do: Do not visit this island without going to Sao Beach. It's the very best. The night market it small but worth checking out especially if you want to eat some local seafood. You can also pick up some jars of pepper local too (and it's delicious). The fish sauce factory is also small, but fun to check out!
Eat: Com Nieu Sai Gon. Order the claypot rice (the grilled one) and watch them crack open the pot and throw it through the air!
The Lunch Lady - she only cooks 1 soup a day, so sit down and get ready to be blown away (try to go on a Friday when she makes Bo Bun). It's worth the hype and the travel time to get there.
Banh Mi Thit Nuong - a hidden street stall with no name that I could see. You have to go to 37 Nguyen Trai Street in District 1 after 5:30pm. Find the address and the dark alley and there you will be rewarded with the best grilled pork sandwich with BBQ sauce. Trust us on this one.
Do: Visit Ben Thanh Market and have a drink at the top of the Rex Hotel and The Caravelle for the views and history